Today Show: Pacemaker and Electrical Currents Help Alzheimer’s Patients
Pacemakers and electrical currents are being used to help Alzheimer’s patients after a study conducted at Ohio State University found that they were able to use the electrical currents to get past the damaged part of the brain and to the part of the brain that is still functioning. For one family, this new technology was a miracle.
Alzheimer’s Disease is the sixth leading cause of death in America and over 5.5 million people are affected by the disease. Kathy is one of the many infected by the disease and at only 57-years-old, she is also in the group of people who have early onset Alzheimer’s. Her parents, Joe and Peggy, said it has been torture watching their daughter’s memory be ravished by the disease especially when they said it should have been them and not her inflicted with the disease.
Peggy and Joe knew they had to help their daughter somehow.
Today Show: Ohio State University Fighting Alzheimer’s Disease
The Ohio State University Med Center has been working on combating the disease for a long time and they have finally found a way to offer some way of helping these patients. By placing little wires in the brain that send signals to a pacemaker worn by the patient, they are able to use different frequencies and electrical intensities to push through the damaged area of the brain and touch the parts of the brain that still work properly.
Doctors began testing out the new procedure on Kathy. When they first began measuring the effectiveness of the pacemaker technology on Kathy, she was not doing very well. But five months later, she was breezing through the memory tests she had such a difficult time on a short while before.
Her father told the Today Show the signs are encouraging, saying his daughter has a better memory already and she is being more sociable with people. Although doctors are cautioning people not to call this a cure, it seems to have pulled Kathy closer to her normal self and away from Alzheimer’s.
“I wasn’t scared to sign up for the program,” said Kathy when asked why she wanted to be one of the first to have the experimental procedure. “I want to make the world a better place for myself and for anyone else going through this.”
Today Show: Research Shifting From Cancer Studies To the Brain
To find out if they should be excited about this new technology helping even more people or whether this study has some flaws that could make it difficult to get to the general public, the Today Show talked with Dr. Snyderman to get her thoughts.
She told the Today Show this study has some new technology that makes her very excited. With so many people diving deeper into cancer research over the past 40 years, she said it is great to see people working on the brain again. She said there are more studies coming out pertaining to the brain and how deep brain stimulation can be used to cure OCD, obesity and anorexia.
Dr. Snyderman did point out this new technology has been shown to work best on early onset Alzheimer’s, people who get the disease in their 50s and 60s. Although there are no drugs to help with the disease, Dr. Snyderman was hopeful there could be some in the future when researchers are able to figure out the genetics surrounding the disease.